Things to Do in The
Cotswold Water Park

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Whilst our lakeside holiday cottages are glorious havens in which you can relax and unwind in the company of family and friends, they are also set amongst some of the most stunning Cotswold countryside just waiting to be explored and enjoyed 

There is a fabulous range of attractions and activities in and around the Cotswold Water Park.  So whether you fancy a gentle meander exploring one of the many nature reserves, want to try your hand at some water sports, or simply want to occupy the children with some family friendly fun the area has it all.

We’ve pulled together a few ideas of things on offer during your visit to get your planning started.  

There's Something For Everyone At The Cotswold Water Park

From active water-based adventures to relaxing at the Spa, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Don’t forget to download our Guest Guide –  it not only gives you lots of information on things to do and places to visit but includes special Orion guest discounts to enjoy.

The Cotswold Range – How good is your aim? 

Fancy something completely different?  How about paying a visit to The Cotswold Range and try your hand at archery or shooting with air riles. Personal tuition with GB and NSRA qualified instructors.  Perfect for beginners.  Open all year round and just a stones throw from your holiday property.  For more information, click on the link below or call 01285 700320. 

Welly Fun – Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park 

If your party has some little ones in tow, this might be more your style. Countryfile’s Adam Henson owns and runs the Cotswold Farm Park, the home of 50 flocks of herds and rare breeds. This is a working farm with a twist! Families can interact with animals in the Touch Barn, or, depending on the season, watching live lambing in the Demo Barn. There are also battery operated mini-tractors, to let your children test their tractor skills, a giant jumping pillow, an adventure playground, the Cotswold Lion Maze and a farm safari. Let the family see what modern farming is all about. 

“Giddyup” – Cerney Equestrian Centre 

Are you in the Cotswold’s on holiday and are your children mad for ponies? The Clip Clop Club is a great way to amuse your children while you explore the area. Get them involved Clip Clop Club. Every Sunday morning from10am – 12pm we hold a 2-hour session where children can ride for an hour in a group lesson, working on their riding skills, and then take part in an hour of fun instructed stable management and yard duties. For more information visit their website or call 01285 869 003. 

Take a walk on the wild side – Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens  

This really is the jewel in the crown for family outdoor activity, with over 160 rolling acres hosting 250 species of animals and insects. From meerkats to monkeys, leopards to lizards, rhinos to spiders plus everything else in between. You can literally spend the whole day here and still not cover it all, especially if the children lead you astray on the adventure playgrounds. Once they’ve had a chance to let off steam, let the model railway take the strain as it trundles its way around the park, an ideal opportunity for you to check what you’ve missed, in readiness for next time around. The grounds of the park are exceptionally well manicured, presenting the perfect location for a spot of picnicking and sunbathing. 

With so many lakes in the Water Park, it’s no surprise that water sports feature so heavily and are one of the reasons that many visit the area.

The options available include kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, windsurfing, water skiing and sailing with lessons available for all abilities.

Some of the key places to try your hand at the various water sports on offer include:

If you’re looking for a more relaxing activity, fishing is a great option

The Water Park is home to a variety of fish species, including pike, perch, roach, and bream. You can fish from the bank or rent a boat for a more immersive experience. 

The Cotswold Water Park is a fantastic destination for cycling enthusiasts of all levels. With its beautiful scenery, quiet country lanes and off-road trails, it’s the perfect place to explore by bike. Whether you’re looking for a challenging road ride, a leisurely cycle with the family, or a mix of on and off-road terrain, the Water Park and surrounding area has something to offer.

From the picturesque villages of the Cotswolds to the winding River Thames, there are plenty of routes to explore that will take you through some of the most stunning countryside in England. So, grab your bike and get ready to discover the beauty of the Cotswold Water Park on two wheels. 

National Cycle Route 45 runs directly through The Cotswold Water Park and The Cotswold Water Park Trust have pulled together information on a number of circular routes to get you started.  

 If you dont bring your own bikes, you can hire them in a number of locations during your stay:

Discover Bikes

Wild Carrot

Bainton Bikes

If you’re looking for some scenic country walks in the Cotswold Water Park, you’re in luck! The area is home to a variety of trails and paths that wind through picturesque countryside and offer stunning views of the lakes and surrounding area.

Whether you’re looking for a short family-friendly stroll or a longer hike out to nearby towns, there’s a walk for everyone. 

Here’s just a few of our favourites: 

Neigh Bridge Country Park Circular Walk – A short and easy walk suitable for all ages and abilities, offering lovely views of the River Thames and surrounding countryside. 

The Cotswold Country Park and Beach Walk – A pleasant walk around the Cotswold Country Park and Beach, with several lakes and a variety of habitats to explore. 

 Ashton Keynes and Somerford Keynes Walk – A moderate walk that takes you through the charming villages of Ashton Keynes and Somerford Keynes, with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. 

Lake 32 and Upper Water Park Walk – A scenic walk that takes you through the Upper Water Park and around the popular Lake 32, with opportunities to spot wildlife and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. 

South Cerney to Siddington Walk – A moderate walk that takes you through the lovely village of South Cerney and along the Thames Path, with plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife and enjoy the riverside views. 

Somerford Lagoon Walk – A short but scenic walk that takes you around Somerford Lagoon, with opportunities to spot a variety of bird species. 

Thames Path National Trail Walk – A challenging but rewarding 14-mile walk that takes you from the Cotswold Water Park to the historic town of Cricklade, with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. 

Cirencester Park Circular Walk – A moderate walk that takes you through the beautiful Cirencester Park, with its lakes, woodland, and open countryside. 

The Water Park Four Lakes Walk – A challenging 10-mile walk that takes you around four of the most picturesque lakes in the Cotswold Water Park, with stunning views of the water and surrounding countryside. 

Within the Cotswold Water Park the Cotswold Lakes Trust operate several sites as nature reserves.  In these the landscape is managed for the protection and enhancement of wildlife, and where the public can go to enjoy it.

You can expect to see birds, bats, butterflies and Black Poplars and with each of the reserves easily accessible everyone can enjoy the wonderful wildlife and nature that this area of outstanding natural beauty has to offer.

As a starting point, download the Nature Reservce Guide which includes information about all of the nature reservces managed by the Cotswold Lakes Trust.

Birdwatching in the Cotswold Water Park is a popular activity for nature lovers and bird enthusiasts alike. With over 150 lakes and a variety of habitats, the Water Park is home to a wide range of bird species, making it an ideal destination for birdwatching. The area is particularly popular for migratory birds, with many stopping here to rest and refuel on their journeys.  

If you’re looking for the best places in the park to see birds, there are several areas that are worth checking out. The Lower Mill Estate is a great place to start, as it’s home to a variety of habitats, with bird hides overlooking the lake providing a wonderful opportunity to spot waterfowl, waders, kingfishers as well as other bird species. 

Overall, the Cotswold Water Park is a fantastic destination for birdwatching, with a diverse range of habitats and bird species to discover. Whether you’re a seasoned birder or a beginner, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience exploring the park’s stunning natural beauty and wildlife. 

Open water swimming is permitted in a number of designated lakes at the Cotswold Water Park.

However, it is important to note that not all lakes are suitable or safe for swimming because of water quality, depth, and potential hazards so you should only swim in the designated lakes. 

Lakes that have been designated for open water swimming and have safety measures in place such as designated swimming areas, safety buoys, and regular water quality testing are as follows: 

Lake 32 – one of the most popular lakes for open water swimming in the Cotswold Water Park. It is a 35-acre lake that has been specifically designed for water sports and has a designated swimming area with safety buoys. The lake is regularly used for triathlon training and events and has a swim course marked out with buoys for this purpose.

Lake 86 – very much for serious open water swimmers, the swimming is only available for those who are happy to swim 400m unaided, without stopping (16 lengths of a standard pool) and are at least 18 years of age.

The set up consists of two triangular courses set one inside the other, the two triangles are 800m and 400m.

Cotswold Country Park and Beach – a more family friendly place for swimming.  Enjoy the man made beach, paddling and swimming areas suitable for all ages.  There are lots of other activities availalble as well as events such as open air cinema so definitely worth keeping an eye out on the website. 


Farm Shops

The Cotswolds offers some of the finest farm shops within the country, below are a list of a few that we recommend near the Cotswold Water Park and slightly further afield.

Full details of each one plus some other farm shops within the Cotswolds can be found in our Farm Shop Blog.

Butts Rare Breed Farm Shop and Cafe South Cerney

Jesse Smith Farm Shop Cirencester

Daylesford Organic Farm Shop, Kingham

Diddly Squat Farm Shop, Chipping Norton

The Organic Farm Shop at Abbey Home Farm, North East of Cirencester

Upton Smokery Farm Shop near Burford

Cotswold Barn near Moreton in Marsh

Vegetable Matters near Chipping Camden

Convenience Stores & Supermarkets

You can find all of the main supermarkets in Swindon with many of them delivering directly to your holiday property. 

Cirencester has a large Tesco and Waitrose plus an M&S Foodhall.

There are also smaller local convenience stores in some of the villages nearby including a One Stop and Co-op in South Cerney.


No matter what you are looking for, there are plenty of options for food and drink whilst visiting the Cotswold Water Park.

There are some amazing country pubs in the local villages many of which are dog friendly and an abundance of cafes, takeaways and restaurants offering every type of cuisine and catering for all budgets. 

Our Guest Guide includes details of many of these as well as some exclusive discounts for Orion customers.  Follow the links below to find out more:

Cafes and Team Rooms

Pubs and Restaurants

Takeaways and Deliveries

If you are looking for something a bit special – take a look at some of our blog posts featuring our pick of Romantic Restaurants and Local Farm Shops in and around the area.


The “Capital of the Cotswolds” Cirencester, has the unmistakable air of a lively market town, and is a mere 15 minute drive away. Its street market, held in the large and impressive Market Place, is a colourful twice-weekly feature of town life. The town’s origins lie in the Roman period when it was one of the regional capitals. The Corinium Museum in the centre of town, narrates this story with reconstructions of how life was in Roman Cirencester, or Corinium Dobunnorum as it was known.

Local Spa Cities

In easy reach of our holiday homes are the well-loved spa cities of Bath, home to Britain’s only natural thermal spa, and Cheltenham – a fine example of a Regency town.

Cheltenham today plays host to sporting and cultural festivals ranging from racing and science to literature and jazz.

Cotswold Villages and Towns

Nestled between these cities are hundreds of delightful villages and small medieval market towns such as Burford, Castle Combe, Chedworth and Bibury.

Even the lesser known villages hold secrets with treasures to be found when you head off the beaten track perhaps to Painswick, Biddestone, Winchcombe or Woodstock, or to a remarkably unspoilt historic church, such as at Northleach – known affectionately as the “Cathedral of the Cotswolds”. Opening the church door will unveil the historical secrets housed within.

The Cotswold Landscape

Out and about, you’ll see fields edged with dry stone walls everywhere you look. Many were built in the 18th and 19th centuries, a matter of considerable artisan skill – especially when you bear in mind there’s no cement holding the stones together! They represent an important historical landscape and a major conservation feature – and are of course still used by farmers today to keep sheep and cattle safely in fields…….unless of course you find yourself in the historic market town of Minchinhampton. Here from May to October herds of cows roam freely from the National Trust Common down to the centre of town. It’s nothing unusual to see them “mooving” their way between the cars and pedestrians with everyone taking it all in their stride.

During the 13-15th centuries in the medieval period, native Cotswold sheep were famous in Europe for their heavy fleeces and high quality wool. Cotswold wool commanded a high price and the profit generated enabled wealthy traders to build fine houses and wonderful churches, known as “wool churches”. The sight of sheep on the hillside continues to be one of the most captivating Cotswold images.

A number of our holiday homes offer premium spa access included in the price of the stay.  Check out our Cotswold Spa Breaks page for more information.

Glo – Pamper – the Spa that comes to you. 

If you want to enjoy the delights of a luxury Spa Treatment without stepping out of your holiday home, we can arrange for the Spa to come to you.  Glo-Pamper deliver an affordable ‘at home’ Spa experience, which can be tailor-made to your requirements, and is available for the whole family to enjoy.

Find out more here.

There are also a range of Spas nearby that offer day membership, these include:

Spa at Whatley Manor  

Calcot Spa

The surrounding area is packed full of history offering a range of historical places for the entire family to enjoy.  We’ve pulled together a brief list on some of our favourites.

Fancy a day out?  Why not visit a local museum or one of the other attractions in the area.  With the area around Swindon being so heavily influenced by Great Western Railway its not surprising that trains feature so much!

If you fancy something truly unique, why not visit Highgrove Gardens, the private home of their Majesties The King Charles III and The Queen Consort, located just outside of Tetbury.  

Tour the stunning gardens, browse the onsite shop or treat yourself to a Champagne Afternoon Tea.

If you are looking for a little retail therapy or just forgot to pack a few things then there is plenty of choice available.


Download Our 2024 Holiday Brochure

Looking for a different kind of holiday this year?  Our free brochure is full of information about what the Cotswold Water Park has to offer!

Discover More About the Cotswolds in our Blog

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